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Jakarta Post

Antigraft campaign loses again

  • Haeril Halim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, May 13, 2015   /  01:06 pm
Antigraft campaign loses again

Not guilty: Makassar'€™s former mayor Ilham Arief Sirajuddin (center) attends a press conference in Kemang, South Jakarta, on Tuesday. The South Jakarta District Court released Ilham from all charges of corruption. Courtesy of Zulfikar

The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) has suffered another blow in its fight against graft after the South Jakarta Court District ordered it to drop its corruption case on former Makassar mayor Ilham Arief Sirajuddin.

The verdict on Ilham was the first to be delivered following a recent Supreme Court (MA) ruling that allows suspects in criminal cases to file a pretrial motion to challenge the legality of a probe launched against them. The MA issued the ruling on April 28 in response to a judicial review request from PT Chevron Pacific Indonesia official and graft convict Bachtiar Abdul Fatah.

Ilham withdrew his pretrial petition in early April after seeing the court reject similar motions filed by other KPK suspects, but soon reregistered the petition after the MA issued the April 28 ruling.

In Tuesday'€™s ruling, the sole judge overseeing the hearing at the South Jakarta District Court, Yuningtyas Upiek, said that during the weeklong pretrial hearing the KPK failed to prove it had collected two strong pieces of evidence before naming Ilham a suspect in a Rp 500 billion (US$38 million) graft case involving city-run water company (PDAM).

Acting KPK chairman Johan Budi said the KPK would comply with the South Jakarta District Court ruling by temporarily dropping its probe on Ilham, while investigators collect more evidence in the case, which caused the state to lose Rp 38 billion.

'€œThe option [to rename him a suspect] is on the table. We will study the ruling thoroughly to find out what'€™s lacking from our investigation. Soon after, we may launch a new probe,'€ Johan said Tuesday.

Johan said the KPK would file a cassation petition or judicial review to the MA to challenge the ruling.

Earlier, the MA said a cassation or judicial review of a pretrial hearing was unconstitutional.

Johan said there was no option but to try to continue the investigation on Ilham because the KPK was prohibited by the 2002 antigraft law from halting any graft investigation.

In addition to Monday'€™s verdict, the South Jakarta District Court ruled that the KPK'€™s move to raid Ilham'€™s office and freeze his bank accounts was '€œillegitimate'€.

The court ordered the KPK to rehabilitate Ilham'€™s reputation, who was named a suspect by the KPK in April 2014.

'€œWe order [the KPK] to restore [Ilham'€™s name] and further restore all his rights in the case,'€ the judge said, reading the official ruling.

During the pretrial hearing, which began on April 4, KPK legal division team members presented copies of all the documents and evidence the KPK had collected before naming Ilham a suspect last year.

However, the judge said the KPK should have presented originals, not copies, since copies could not be used to defend the KPK'€™s claim that it had complied with the existing regulations while conducting its investigation into Ilham.

Among the documents the KPK team presented during the trial were copies of the contract that PDAM Makassar had signed with the companies winning the project, a list of witnesses that had been questioned, confiscated documents obtained during raids in Makassar and the Supreme Audit Agency (BPK) report on the state losses resulting from Ilham'€™s alleged offenses.

Johan insisted KPK investigators had all the original copies of the documents, adding that the KPK team brought only the copies of the documents to the court because pretrial hearings were not to focus too heavily on the key facts and findings of the investigation.